Dyslipidemia is present in people with diabetes as well as subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between lipid profiles and β cell function in Chinese individuals with NGT but without history of diabetes or prediabetes.
A total of 893 men and 1454 women aged 18–76 years living in Sichuan, China, who were not being treated with lipid-lowering drugs were enrolled in this study. Insulin sensitivity (IR) was evaluated using the homeostasis model assessment –IR (HOMA-IR), β-cell function was calculated by the following equation: ΔI30/ΔG30/ HOMA-IR (ΔI30/ΔG30: the ratio of incremental glucose and insulin 30 min after glucose intake). Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to estimate the relationship between blood lipid and β cell function as standardized coefficients (β).
β cell function decreased in men and women with increasing age. We found inverse relationships between β cell function and total cholesterol (TC) in men and women (β = −0.157 and −0.113, respectively, both p < 0.001), low-density lipoprotein–cholesterol (LDL-C; β = −0.130 and −0.068, respectively, both p < 0.001), TC/high-density lipoprotein–cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio (β = −0.084, p < 0.01 and −0.096, p < 0.001), and triglycerides (TG) (women only; β = −0.053, p < 0.05). However, β cell function was not associated with HDL-C in men or women (β = −0.034 and 0.000, respectively, both p > 0.05) or the TG/HDL-C ratio (β = −0.035 and −0.013, respectively, both p > 0.05). β cell function was significantly worse in males than in females in all age groups, except in subjects aged > 70 years.
Dyslipidemia is associated with dysfunction of pancreatic β cells in subjects with NGT and this is particularly evident in people with elevated TC and LDL-C levels, especially males.